Mahala CAROLINE <I>Stribling</I> Branch

Photo added by carolyn leonard

Mahala CAROLINE Stribling Branch

  • Birth 28 Apr 1847 Marion County, Illinois, USA
  • Death 4 Nov 1885 Strafford, Greene County, Missouri, USA
  • Burial Strafford, Greene County, Missouri, USA
  • Plot Row 2
  • Memorial ID 29261608

Caroline Stribling was born to a circuit-riding Methodist minister and his wife on the Illinois frontier in 1847. She was the youngest of at least six children. Caroline's father died before she was a year old. Her mother remarried and had two more children, but by the time Caroline was twelve, the stepfather died also. In those days widows and children were at the bottom of the social scale, and survival was especially difficult on the frontier. I don't know how they made it, but somehow they did.

At the age of eighteen Caroline married Samuel C. Branch, son of a Freewill Baptist minister. Samuel was thirty-one years old, a Civil War veteran, and a widower with a six-year-old son named Will. Samuel and his twin brother Stephen served together in the 62nd Illinois Infantry, and had come home to tragedy. While they were off fighting, their patriarch died, as did Stephen's young wife Martha. Samuel's wife Lamuh Ann and two of their three children also were gone.

Within a few years, Samuel and Caroline had four children of their own and Samuel was a successful carpenter.

Then the mysterious deaths began. First the baby John Logan, then Caroline's mother Elizabeth, then Samuel himself, and lastly, their little four-year-old Viola.

Samuel's surviving son from his first marriage, Will, went to live with Samuel's mother. This may have saved Will's life from "galloping consumption" or the "great white plague" as the disease was called. No one knew in 1875 what caused the disease -which we now know as tuberculosis of the lung. Even doctors felt hopeless and helpless when a patient presented symptoms. There was no treatment but bed rest, which rarely helped. No one considered the sickness a communicable disease, but thought it inherited. They called it consumption, because a victim simply wasted away, consumed by the disease.

Caroline, now a young widow with two surviving children at age twenty-seven, may have already been showing signs of illness, but she carried on. In 1880, four years after Samuel's death, Caroline married Samuel's twin brother Stephen. They had two more children, Charles and Mabel. Charles died as a baby in 1883, the same year as Caroline's fifteen-year-old daughter, Arvilla.

Alpha, his little half-sister Mable and Will, the older half-brother, survived for a time, but Mable succumbed at age 26.

Caroline's brother, Bradford Stribling, and sister, Mary Ann with husband Will Alexander, moved to Missouri to start new lives. Stephen and Caroline may have decided to seek a healthier climate also. They apparently left Illinois and moved to Missouri to live, but it was too late. Caroline died within the year, at age thirty-eight. Of Caroline's six children, only one, Alpha Curtis Branch, my grandfather, survived.

Family Members


Wife of Samuel C. Branch





  • Maintained by: carolyn leonard
  • Originally Created by: Grannysue
  • Added: 23 Aug 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 29261608
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Mahala CAROLINE Stribling Branch (28 Apr 1847–4 Nov 1885), Find A Grave Memorial no. 29261608, citing Potter Family Cemetery, Strafford, Greene County, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by carolyn leonard (contributor 47319116) .